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UT Chancellor Donde Plowman with Arizona State University President Michael Crow at the ASU+GSV Summit.

Chancellor Donde Plowman of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, joined Arizona State University President Michael Crow to discuss a groundbreaking partnership between the two institutions that will expand access to higher education. Their discussion was part of the annual ASU+GSV Summit, the preeminent global education innovation conference.

ASU Executive Vice President and University Provost Nancy Gonzales moderated the discussion.

UT and ASU are coming together to rapidly scale innovative digital teaching and learning opportunities to serve millions of residents in Tennessee and Arizona. The two universities are working together to better serve students by combining resources, sharing best practices and utilizing their collective expertise in a digital format.

The collaboration addresses the diverse needs of modern learners, including those who are unable to participate in traditional campus settings and working adults with families pursuing further education. It aims to empower learners on their educational journey and address the evolving needs of the workforce. Nearly 1 million people in Tennessee have some college credit but no degree.

“We are both very mission-driven organizations,” said Plowman. “For us, it’s all about helping the state in terms of economic development on all levels.”

The agreement includes course exchanges, joint technology solution efforts and operational advisory services from ASU designed to accelerate the continued development of UT’s independent infrastructure and operational capabilities.

UT currently offers more than 70 fully online degree and certificate programs across nearly 80 areas of interest. With this partnership, UT expects to launch additional programs to begin later this fall with more beginning next year.

“The opportunity to partner with ASU helped us escalate,” said Plowman.

The partnership with ASU is a testament to UT’s commitment to academic excellence and dedication to access. With this expanded platform, more individuals will be able to benefit from the flexible educational options that are increasingly in demand in today’s higher education landscape.

ASU is renowned for its global leadership in digital learning and high-quality academic programs.

“This alliance is a way for us to learn from UT Knoxville and for them to learn from us. This is a part of a process in which we all benefit,” said Crow. “We are social-outcome seekers.”


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

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